We all try to cram as much as we can into every day and that often leaves us feeling tired and, if we are honest, as though we never get to the end of the very long to-do list we have created for ourselves.
None of us can get access to more than 24 hours in every day but what if there was a way to be more productive within that allotment of hours? These 6 tips should get you started on the right track.
Map Out Your Day
If you are feeling overwhelmed, one of the best ways to clear your mind is to write everything down so you at least get it out of your head. You can use a journal for this or one of my favourite planning tools, Asana.
Asana is powerful but you can use as many or as few of the features as you wish, basically it can act as an easy to use to-do list. Even better, it’s free.
Once you have created your list don’t try to tackle every item at once; that way leads to exhaustion. Instead, every evening choose 3 items you want to complete the next day. That’s achievable, which means you will finish every day feeling like you have made progress. Naturally if you can do more then go ahead, but at least 3 things are done.
Batching is a perfect way to streamline anything that needs to get done. Need to post lots of items? Then pack and take them to the post office in one go. Have paperwork to sort out and bills to pay? Then allot a day once a month to get that done.
If you batch tasks, then you won’t waste time, or any mental headspace, on them in the meantime. When a bill arrives simply drop it in a drawer or your allotted area for paperwork, so you can return to it on your bill paying day.
If you have a big project to plan then a free online tool such as Trello can be a big help. Trello allows you to create a board for each project and then within this you can create a list for each section within the larger goal. You can then drag and drop tasks between the lists, allowing you to plan easily.
This is a great tool if you need to plan an event, maybe a children’s party or wedding; you can use it when something major is happening in your home, such as a new kitchen being fitted; or utilise it if you need to plan out a course or even write a book.
Many of us almost pride ourselves on our ability to multi-task and while sometimes it is unavoidable, it’s not something you should try to do on those bigger projects. Focusing on one thing at a time and seeing it through to conclusion will make you far more productive.
Trying to do too many things at once can leave us feeling scattered and ultimately overwhelmed and even research shows that leaving multi-tasking behind can make us far more effective.
Work in Short Bursts
Our brains are not designed to concentrate on things for long stretches of time and therefore you can make yourself more productive if you work in short bursts and then give yourself a 5 or 10 minute break. When we know we only have to focus for a set period we are more likely to actually commit and do the work, rather than our brains heading off in a dozen different directions.
Set a cooking timer or this online tomato-timer for 25 minutes and then head off to do your task, whether that’s tidying the house or writing a blog post. The alarm will let you know when it’s time to take a short break – and ok then, yes you can check Facebook if it makes you happy!
Make Use of ‘Wasted’ Time
We all have periods in our day which can be non-productive, maybe when you are driving to work or waiting for an appointment. Any time when you are not in the car you can catch up on emails or read a kindle book on your phone. When you are driving, why not listen to an audio book or podcast? Who says you can’t learn while you are on the move.
Have these tips been helpful? Then leave a comment below or share your personal productivity tip.